HELP!! Car sputtering and driving slo...

HELP!! Car sputtering and driving slow, then revs up very suddenly

Posted in the Dodge Neon Forum


Philadelphia, PA

#1 Feb 27, 2012
2003 Dodge Neon SE - Automatic

My car has been having this issue for 7mo. I have taken it to two mechanics who still can not figure out the source of the problem.

The car drives normally about 70% of the time. However, some days, I will start the car and it will sputter as it is idling in park and sometimes stall. When it doesn't stall, I will put it in drive and it will drive VERY slow for about 10sec, even when I am pressing ALL the way down on the accelerator, then it will rev up suddenly very fast. After that, it will drive normally at high speeds. Occasionally, when idling at a red light it will start sputtering, shaking, and the lights will flicker on and off (headlights, radio lights, etc). Then it will rev up while I am stepping on the brakes and move forward slightly... it;s kind of scary, especially when there is a car in front of me. Very rarely it will stall instead of revving forward..

The check engine light is on.

The codes are:

I have changed the O2 sensor twice... to no avail. I have added cat cleaner to the gas tank...

My tags are about to expire and I really need help troubleshooting this issue.

Is it electrical? Is it fuel related? Is this a common Neon problem? Is it easy/inexpensive to fix?

ANY help is appreciated... thanks!!!

Mahnomen, MN

#2 Feb 27, 2012
I assume that you've already checked your spark plugs and plug wires. If you haven't, replace them both. If you have, then it's probably an intake sensor. With the car in park, rev the engine from under the hood by turning the throttle linkage at the throttle body about a quarter turn for 10 seconds. If the car sputters, try disconnecting the IAT (intake air temperature sensor) and rev it again. You'll have a check engine light from it being disconnected, but doing that on another neon I've worked on solved the problem of it dying because it wore out and the computer thought the air intake temp was always hot. If that doesn't solve the problem, move to the next sensor on the intake and repeat the test. It may sound weird, but it works to diagnose the problem. When the computer doesn't get a signal from the sensor, it will default to a factory expected setting. You'll be able to tell which sensor is the problem because the car will either run better or worse when you disconnect the bad sensor and rev the engine.

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